In just a few years, mental health has become one of the most pressing issues in our social consciousness.
Countries around the world are facing a crisis of mental health among people of all ages, but especially among youth. This situation is worsening even as the vast majority of physical ailments have been cured. Those diseases that don’t have cures often have effective treatments.
Yet the mental health issues that plague so many countries have become too large to ignore. While it’s easy to point a finger at the pandemic — which has certainly compounded the problem with social isolation and restrictions on travel — the rise of COVID-19 is clearly only part of the cause.
Some national and local governments have begun to take action by boosting money for mental health services, but for those suffering from severe depression or anxiety or loneliness, it’s likely more helpful to start making life changes right now.
If you’ve been suffering from mental health issues, the first thing you should do is consult a doctor, therapist or other healthcare professional.
Yet you can also try to make small but meaningful lifestyle changes to ease the pain and feel better.
Get More Exercise
There’s likely nothing more important to improving your mood than exercise. Pandemic restrictions have made that difficult, as it can be hard to motivate yourself to exercise when you’re stuck at home all the time.
But the world has mostly reopened, and now is the time to restart that gym membership, or join a social sports league or just start jogging in the morning.
Exercise isn’t a complete solution, of course — there’s rarely a silver bullet for severe mental health issues. But it can certainly help many people manage their situation.
While it’s certainly fair to say that religion isn’t for everyone — especially the younger generations that are increasingly disinterested in attending houses of worship — more people have begun seeking out alternative forms of spirituality.
The rise of alternative forms of faith to mainstream religion has been well documented, and options abound for those seeking solace in a connection to the world around them, be it yoga retreats or meditation or dialogues with spiritual thinkers.
Many gurus now offer their personalized approach to spirituality through remote online meetings as well as the in-person conversations that dominated their approach before the pandemic.
Less Time With the News
There’s nothing wrong with staying politically aware and keeping up with current events. However, it’s increasingly clear that too much time on screens and reading too much news can have a negative impact on mental health.
As the constant stream of information from the internet has become the norm of daily life, it’s useful to remember the days when we only consumed news once or twice a day, usually in the morning or evening. Now our phones can assault us with terrible news about shootings, political corruption and mass suffering at every moment of our lives.
This is probably not healthy for most people, and learning how to manage the flow of information into our brains is probably a smart move for anyone — even those not experiencing mental health problems.
These suggestions are not to be taken as medical advice. To reiterate: If you’re having trouble coping with your mental health, consult a professional healthcare provider as soon as possible.
However, you should also remember that taking some small steps to improve your habits isn’t a bad way to start improving your life — right now.